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Bucs bring back defensive lineman William Gholston for 10th season

The veteran agrees to a one-year deal to remain in Tampa Bay
Bucs defensive tackle William Gholston (92), who turns 31 this summer, totaled a career-best 4.5 sacks last season, his ninth with Tampa Bay.
Bucs defensive tackle William Gholston (92), who turns 31 this summer, totaled a career-best 4.5 sacks last season, his ninth with Tampa Bay. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Mar. 22|Updated Mar. 23

Bucs free-agent defensive lineman William Gholston confirmed Tuesday evening that he has agreed to a new deal that will keep him in Tampa Bay for a 10th season.

The deal is for one year, the Tampa Bay Times learned. Gholston announced the news on his agency’s Twitter account.

“Excited to be able to join the crew again for another season,” Gholston said.

“It’s really special for me to be able to say that, because next year’s going into my 10th season. Being here all my whole career, and being able to be a pillar in the community, help out, learn so much about the environment — it just means a lot to be able to stay home.”

The second-longest tenured player on the current roster behind linebacker Lavonte David, Gholston earned $5.5 million in 2021, the final season of a five-year deal. Details of the new deal weren’t available, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Gholston received overtures from a handful of other teams.

Just two months ago, however, he expressed a clear desire to finish his career as a Buccaneer.

“It would mean everything to be honest with you,” Gholston, who turns 31 this summer, told reporters in mid-January.

“I love it here. This is home for me. Even listening and talking to guys who come in from different teams or left to different teams — I really wouldn’t know what to do outside of this place. I know the community here, the community knows me. I know the building, I know the staff. It’s nothing I really even think about.”

The Bucs’ fourth-round pick in 2013, Gholston is coming off a resurgent season in which he totaled a career-best 4.5 sacks. He appeared in 44 percent of the defensive snaps in Todd Bowles’ 3-4 scheme, recording 36 tackles, 11 quarterback hits and seven tackles for loss.

His return helps fortify a unit partially in transition. The Bucs signed Pro Bowl nose tackle Vita Vea to a four-year extension earlier this year, but 35-year-old free agent Ndamukong Suh remains unsigned, and the team isn’t expected to retain 36-year-old tackle Steve McLendon.

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report.

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